If there's one thing people know about me, it's that I love a good burger, and a big burger. To get both, you need look no further than Hugh Jass Burgers at 395 South Limestone in Lexington. HJB has a lot going for it--a great location along a strip of bars and clubs very near the University of Kentucky, the greatest logo in logo history with the smiling donkey showing his ample ass, and kitchen manager extraordinaire and mega wrestling fan Mitch Colley, a member of the Castle Cornette inner circle--but the biggest thing, no pun intended, are the burgers.
Each Hugh Jass Burger patty is 10 ounces, and as Ernie Ladd used to say, they're big enough to cover the ground they walk on. There are several specialty burgers on the menu, or you can build your own. My favorite, except for the name (since I'm a Louisville Cardinals fan and that means the UK Wildcats are all antichrists) is the Wildcat Burger--American Cheese, Applewood smoked bacon, mayo, lettuce and tomato topped with a fried egg. But the combinations are endless, as you can choose from toppings like Bleu, Swiss, Cheddar and Pepperjack cheeses, carmelized onions, mushrooms, avocado, chili, jalapeno peppers, pickles, bbq sauce, even sun-dried tomatoes. If you ask nicely, they'll even make you a double, plopping 20 ounces, a full one and a quarter pounds, of cattle byproduct on your toasted bun with all your favorite toppings. It's all even I can do to down one of these, although on our first visit to HJB we were accompanied by Theodus Crane, the 6'8", 375 pound actor and San Shou fighter who played "Big Tiny" on the Walking Dead, and he inhaled a double in under two minutes along with two 64 ounce "towers" of beer.
You can sit and watch your favorite sports on the countless TV's while waiting for your order, but I prefer to watch the kitchen where the REAL show is going on--you can see right across to the kitchen and watch these giant slabs of beef being plopped onto the grill, getting your juices flowing for the burger experience to come. Even though you might not want to be a hero and waste your appetite before the main event, there's more than burgers on the menu that you have to sample.
The buffalo wings are plump and tasty, and come tossed in a variety of sauces, but I can't ever order any other than the Old Bay style wings. These are big in the Baltimore area, but you seldom see them down south, so when I did, I hopped on them. A dozen Old Bay wings and several cups of ranch dressing are my favorite stage-setter for the burger battle to come. HJB has two kinds of fries, also--fresh hand-cut potatoes, and sweet potato fries, which are Stacey's favorite. These come with an incredible marshmallow-fluff dipping sauce that is so good you'll, as the saying goes, run home and smack your mother. You can also get the Gravel Switch loaded fries with cheese, bacon, chili and chives, BBQ potato skins, nachos, and more--even a salad, though why you'd do that remains a mystery to me.
Other menu items include the SEC dog, Charlotte's rack (a huge slab of ribs), a Buffalo chicken sandwich and even a veggie burger (although if you order that, you need to be shot). Add plenty of cold beer and Pepsi products (no Sprite here but I settle for Sierra Mist, no sense dying on that hill) and you've got the burger place menu most cities only dream of, with prices that are affordable and an atmosphere for everyone. Oh, but you say you don't want to pay?
HJB can even accomodate the folks that want a free meal, and it's easy. If you want to eat free, all you have to do is come in and take the HJB Challenge--it's a 5 patty quintuple burger, fully dressed, with fries and a drink. Order this monumentally massive mound of meat, 50 ounces plus bun and toppings, and eat it and the fries in 25 minutes, and it's not only free but you get your name on the wall of fame. I've never tried it, in large part because I can't go to HJB and forego my beloved wings, but from eyeballing it, I'm not entirely certain I would prevail. It's even more intimidating than the Heart Attack Grill Quadruple Bypass burger challenge, which I completed in 2010 to get a free wheelchair ride to my car and accompanying photo op. However, it is possible, because according to first hand reports even some UK coeds have done it, and those would be Wildcats that even I wouldn't want to mess with!
If you find yourself in the Bluegrass state and you want a burger for the ages, head over to Hugh Jass Burger, ask for Mitch and tell him the Cornettes sent you--he'll make sure you leave in a burger blackout! For more information, go to hughjassburgers.com.